The Georgia Bulldog football program readies for the 2014 season after going 8-5 last year overall and 5-3 in SEC play.
This season, the Dogs return six starters on offense and nine on defense. Offensively, Georgia must replace four year starting quarterback Aaron Murray who leaves for the NFL, and his replacement looks to be senior Hutson Mason.
Aside from losing Murray, other key losses for the Bulldogs on offense are tight end Arthur Lynch as well as Rantavious Wooten and Chris Burnette. Key defensive players lost include Garrison Smith, Connor Normans and Josh Harvey-Clemons.
Mason will be the new man in charge after backing up Murray for most of his tenure at UGA. He saw some action last season as he played the majority of the Kentucky game as well as all of the Georgia Tech and Nebraska game due to Murray’s ACL tear.
“His style of play is very much like a point guard in basketball,” said head coach Mark Richt. “He knows he’s going to be delivering the ball to the play makers and he knows that’s how the team will have success.”
Although there are differences between Mason and Murray, UGA players do not feel like there’s any drop off with Mason in control.
“Hutson is a big guy who anticipates where the ball is going to go, and he’ll throw before the receiver is open and throw them open, ” said wide receiver Chris Conley.
Running back Todd Gurley, who ran for 989 yards on 165 attempts in 2013, is expected to be back at 100 percent after an ankle injury slowed him in the second half of the season. According to Gurley, the team did train differently this summer after last season’s injuries.
“Mostly it was a lot of maintenance work…. just trying to work on knees and balance, just the core work,” Gurley said.
Linebacker Ramik Wilson who led the SEC with 133 tackles last season is excited for the upcoming season.
“I like the new class that was brought in,” said Wilson. “We have all the tools and talent to be great. ”
The Bulldogs will open their season against the Clemson Tigers on August 30th, and then play South Carolina the following week.
“Obviously, two of the best teams in the country, both from South Carolina, it’s going to be a big challenge for us,” Richt said.
To hear more from Richt and the Bulldogs, click below: